The tour met outside of FATMAN Plumbing in Downtown Waxhaw. Brandon and Alyssa Clay had booked their tour online for them and their out of town guest, Amanda Neilsen. Our tour guide Moose (aka Nicholas Vlach), introduced himself and led us across the street. He started talking about his own experience with ghosts and the tour was on its way. As night fell, we continued walking around Waxhaw and talking about its history and its ghosts.
The Waxhaw Ghost Tour was developed by Tim Starnes, owner of Ethereal Crack, who grew up in Waxhaw but now lives in Charlotte. “It honestly came to me one day out of the blue as I walked out of my condo to go to a meeting about what we were going to do next. Our company is only about five months old, we opened on February 28th in Waxhaw – it was our first tour.” While he isn’t the first to offer a ghost tour in Waxhaw (that distinction goes to Cecelia Neil who operated a ghost tour in Waxhaw for years but has since passed away), he has worked hard to research local ghosts to populate the tour. Starnes’ has a personal paranormal experience that is one of the first stories told.
By the time the tour ended up under the Water Tower, night had completely fallen and the tour had seeped into our skin so every little noise made you look around. Moose told us about the white settlers of Waxhaw and some of their tragic endings. It was easy to imagine a simpler time in the town, as the railroad was being built. We then moved onto the next stop in front of the Methodist Church.
Starnes named his company Ethereal Crack. When asked about the name, he explained, “A lot of people ask me about the name, and the reasoning is pretty simple. Before this, back in college, I got my start writing and publishing stageplays. I used the same method that I did there – select an outrageous common word and an outrageous descriptive word, combine the two, and that is your title. You’ll never forget it, for sure!” He currently runs the company with his long time partner and his mother. All three of them have experience with museum and arts production background. Starnes himself actually used to intern at The Museum of the Waxhaws during his summers home from college.
After the church and its history with a suspicious death, we moved back through town to Tangles Knitting Shop. Moose told us about his personal ghost hunting experience in that building and the air seemed to grow chillier.
Starnes and Ethereal Crack does much more than just the Waxhaw Ghost Tour. They also “operate many tours along the East Coast. You can find the full listing on our website, EtherealCrack.com – but, to quickly list some in our area, we have tours in: Waxhaw, Concord, Gastonia, Monroe, Kannapolis, Rock Hill, York, and have one planned for Lancaster. We operate other attractions as well. A monthly Victorian teahouse called The Contraband Society, and have recently begun the preparations for our yearly haunted house attraction, the first one we held last year – The Summoning, at The Museum of the Waxhaws, which sold out for the weekend which it ran. We haven’t revealed this year’s location, but to those who went last year, they will be pleased to hear that myself and the board have cleared doubling the budget and staff for this year. As an exclusive for your readers, the theme this year will be a Revolutionary War Reenactment gone wrong. Just like last year, attendees can expect a fully-immersive experience, being thrown right into the mix. Keep an eye out – tickets sales will launch early for a cheaper price – the price will back to regular price closer to the opening. Ticket sales are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot.
As the tour ended by the railroad tracks, it moved beyond Waxhaw to some of the surrounding areas. Starnes has done extensive research about the local ghosts and legends and it shows in how the stories are presented. The last stop was under a flickering light street light that would suddenly plunge you into darkness. As Moose and the other people on the tour said good bye, the flickering light also seemed to be saying good bye from the other side.